TVNation’s HD Box Offers 200+ Channels, Smart Features and More
Although the digital service providers in Pakistan have grown steadily, there is still a large proportion of the population that relies on analogue TV
] Of the two types of services, the older (and rather outdated) is analogously clear, while digital TV is state-of-the-art and comes with a wide range of functions. Penetration is still low, however, due to the high costs involved and the general availability.
Rising above the ranks and aiming for a revolution in the way we watch TV, is tvnation. They offer digital TV services that offer consumers a wide variety of local and international content.
The content mentioned is in real HD (unless otherwise not available) and is not downgraded in any way. This gives viewers the ultimate experience to view real HD content as it should be. What makes their digital TV service more interesting is that it comes with an interactive and content-rich electronic programming guide (EPG) that allows you to view the daily program listings. You can also use the EPG to schedule your favorite recording program or reserve a reminder for the same to view when it is broadcast.
TVNation was kind enough to invite us to their headquarters in Karachi to show us their latest HD Set-Top-Box and gave us a tour of what customers can expect.
TVNation has two products: TVNation HD and TVNation NextGeneration (NXG).
NXG has yet to be launched, while TVNationHD is already available to consumers. Today we will take a look at what you get in the box, some of its functions and prices.
Open the simple box and you get the following items:
- tvnationHD set-top-box
- Remote control
- HDMI cable
- User guide (in Urdu and English both)
- AV cables
- Spare batteries
- Power adapter
Continue to the set-top box itself, on the front you get TVNation branding, a / off button and the next / previous c hanne l buttons. The rest of the functions are ready to be controlled by the included remote control.
Go back and you will find your usual gates, including a USB port, whose function we will discuss later on
The remote control is a standard case.
After unboxing we connected the set-top box to the TV, turned it on and went through the initial set-up.
Boot-up usually takes 7-10 seconds when the checkbox checks for updates
Let’s continue with the actual service and functions that tvnation promises and see what sets it apart from the rest of the competition.
1. 200+ channels
TVNation claims to offer the consumer over 200 channels and during our tests almost all channels were available and it worked fine. Most of the content was in HD, but there were some channels that were not available in HD and they were shown in standard definition (SD).
If for some reason you can not see the difference between which channel is HD or not, you can simply press the Info button on the remote control to view the details of the channel.
You see in the image below that a small pop-up at the bottom of the screen shows basic channel information, such as the channel name, the aspect ratio on which you play and the resolution
. channel info bar also shows, in percentage terms, how much the current program you are watching has passed and also the next two programs that will be broadcast, which we will also discuss later. The date and time are also displayed in the same bar.
Press the “Info” button on the remote control again and it shows you the synopsis / plot of the program you are currently up to.
One of the many functions it offers is the ability to categorize channels. That may not sound so exciting, but the way in which tvnation does that makes it smart.
First of all you have a list of all the channels that all channels have at your disposal. In addition, you have predefined categories such as News (divided into local and international), Entertainment (also split), Sports, Children etc.
If you choose a channel from one of these categories and it tries to channel it change, it will only move between channels in that category instead of cycling through all channels. So, for example, if you feel like watching some sport and distracting from the news, you can simply choose each channel from the sport category and if you try to change channels, you’ll only get more sports channels instead of annoyed by the news.
Furthermore, users also have the possibility to create their own list of channels. It works in the same way as the predefined categories when it comes to switching between channels, so that you have an even more customized experience that is tailored to your needs.
3. Electronic Program Guide (EPG)
TVNation promises to provide the full digital experience to the users, which brings me to the next most important feature of the set-top box, the electronic program guide.
EPG is usually used undivided with digital set-top boxes. It shows the list of current and scheduled programs of all the channels you have available and also a short summary of each program. Think of the synopsis we mentioned earlier? That was part of the EPG.
To access the whole, just press the “EPG” button on your remote control and the following screen will appear.
Here the screen is divided into two panels. The top shows the current program you are watching and also the time it looks. You also get a small summary of the program.
On the bottom panel the channels are listed vertically and listed for them, divided by time, are the upcoming shows that will broadcast. You can select each program and press “Info” on the remote control and it will show the synopsis of that program.
With EPG you can also record a program, which we will discuss later.
Press the EPG button again as soon as you have highlighted one of the channels and the screen changes to show you the detailed view of upcoming programs for that specific channel.
You can also set reminders for a particular channel that shows you want to watch. So if you watch another broadcast and start airing the other program on another channel, a pop-up will appear asking you if you want to switch to that other program. You can cancel it or select “Yes” and if there is no response, it automatically changes the channel for you.
Another important feature of tvnationHD is the ability to record programs and not only that but also planning the recording for later. This feature is very similar to what PTCL offers with its SmartTV set-top box.
To start recording, you must first have a USB connected to the set-top box with enough storage space to record complete programs. in HD.
Once that has happened, open the EPG as discussed earlier. You can record the current program or schedule the recording for a program that is broadcast later. Let us now concentrate on recording a program that is currently being broadcast.
Once the EPG is opened, press the red button on the remote control that indicates “REC”. A message window will appear confirming that recording has started.
You can record for up to 2 hours at a time or until the storage runs out. To stop recording, press the REC button again and ask for confirmation before saving.
You can then view the PVR menu on your set-top box and play back the recording you just made
As mentioned above, you can also schedule the recording. To do that, simply open the EPG and select a program that is to be broadcast. After selecting, press the REC button and the program show turns orange, indicating that everything is set and starts recording immediately when the program starts to broadcast.
From the point of view of content security, the recording on the USB remains secure and can not be used for piracy. If you use the USB on your laptop, you can not play back the recorded programs due to encryption. The shows can only be played on the set-top box. If you try to use the USB on another TV set top box, the recording will not be played.
5. Learning from a distance
Is not it annoying when there are too many remote controls around your house and you have to use separate remote controls for everything like your TV, set-top box or another part too? It seems that the people who worked at tvnation had to solve the same problems, but fortunately they also came up with a solution and this comes in the form of “learning from a distance”.
How it works, the remote control you get with the tvnationHD has a separate group of buttons at the top of the remote control that is labeled as TV Control. The buttons contain our most used functions such as the on / off button, Volume +/-, Channel +/- etc.
What this function actually does is that you have the TV and your set top can control -box directly from a single remote control instead of trying to use two remote controls at the same time.
All you have to do is configure the remote control according to the instructions on the back of the remote and it will save you those settings.
In our tests the remote learning function worked perfectly and it was a relief to know that the people who use tvnationHD do not have to complain about searching for remote controls.
From now on the digital TV services of tvnation are available in major cities in the country through its partner, StormFiber
We asked about the plans of tvnation to expand their services in the future, they said they have plans to offer services throughout Pakistan. Their ultimate goal is to offer these digital services and functions that we have just discussed to every household in Pakistan at an affordable price.
Of course, the expansion takes time and now they have plans for some big cities such as Multan, Quetta etc.
Expand also means finding new partners to participate in tvnation, exactly what what they are looking for right now. StormFiber is one of the partners that now delivers these services in Peshawar and Karachi.
What TVnation promises to deliver is quality from start to finish, from the acquisition of satellites all the way to the customer’s home. For this, partners are carefully examined before they are brought on board. Because tvnation delivers real HD, they have to know in advance whether the potential partner has sufficient equipment to deliver the quality they promise.
TVNation offers potential partners the opportunity to contact them and deliver these services to customers. This will enable the partners to provide their customers with high quality services that their customers will guarantee in return.
What we mean by “safe” is that if one day PEMRA decides to write a notice to turn off the analogue TV completely. and switch to digital, those service providers that are not prepared for such a step will eventually lose customers. Collaborating with TVNation eliminates the possibility of such a scenario. You can reach TVNation representatives on [email protected] to become a TVNation partner.
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